Thursday, July 01, 2010

Debra – iPad – Toy or Tool ?

I have an iPad. Not my fault. You have to have an iPad to see the ibookstore. Why would a dyed-in-the-wool Kindle girl care?

Bell Bridge Books/BelleBooks have books in the iBookstore. I’m really “old school" and believe one should check on one’s products. So, after being unable to get iBookstore app to run on the Mac (also bought so we could upload books to the Apple iBookstore) I called Apple and was told, “Sorry, dude. You must have an iPad.”

So. I have an iPad. My assistant calls it “The Precious.” (i.e. Gollum)

Yes, it’s small. Yes, it’s color. Yes, it’s cool in a toy way, but it’s big to hold. It feels heavy and I don’t even have its case on it yet. My hands are too small to do the “texting-style” typing on it in portrait orientation. When laying flat it’s clear I’d have to cut my nails and practice to type on its built in keyboard (pops up when you touch a search box, the url line, the note pad app, etc.)

To be fair, we’ve been too busy to really fiddle with it. Once we download some apps maybe we’ll be more enthusiastic. (I did get a fabulous humongous calculator I love.) And I TOTALLY see how this is going to make a newspaper or magazine subscription easier to accept in digital format. That piece of the puzzle is a perfect fit. Deborah Smith has one and she just took a trip. All weekend I got emails about “The Magic Window.” She is a big iPad fan.

Next on my agenda for this week is a new Phone. Mine’s about the size of a brick, doesn’t take pictures, doesn’t do email or anything else. You can make a call on it. That’s pretty much what it does. My son is embarrassed. And I want the internet on my phone, so it’s time. Everyone I know who has an iPhone loves it. My son said I have to get the 4G Evo, which has a bigger screen and two cameras and is kicking iPhone’s butt. (according to my son.)

While I can see the iPhone/Evo as something that can be a toy AND functional, for me, the jury is still out whether the iPad is “all that and a bag of chips.” As a company we totally support an infinite number of platforms and media for our books. Whoohoo!! We’ll do everything we can to deliver books in whichever media a customer wants. We ran our first promotion in Apple’s iBookstore (started 22nd) – Anthony Francis FROST MOON. iBookstore also chose to do some promotion with the book last week so we’ll happy for that!

But the constant bombardment of new media tools is killing me! Maybe my problem is that I’m too busy to play with the iPad right now. Why? For one thing we acquired the digital rights to 11 books from the backlist of NYT bestselling author Jill Barnett. That’s a lot of books to add to a crowded schedule! Several of the books went up at Kindle in the last few days. More are coming soon to Kindle and everything coming soon to other platforms like Apple’s iPad!

After you look at some of the nifty covers for Jill, go to comments and tell me whether you want more media options or if you’d like the world to slow down technology so that we actually have a chance to really, truly learn one piece of equipment, social website or software before it becomes obsolete and we’re forced to upgrade to the next Big Bad.


Betina Krahn said...

Gorgeous covers, Deb! I'm jealous!

Meanwhile, I think my I-phone is one of the coolest things I've EVER gotten. My e-mmail goes with me everywhere! I have SOOOOoooo waited for that. And there are a number of music apps that I adore. PLUS, pictures and camera and IM's and internet. What's not to love. And I have yet to "accidentally" call anyone, which was one of my big fears with the touchscreen style phone. I don't need to lug a laptop everywhere to check my e-mail and lug an i-pod for my music, and lug a camera for snap of the grandkiddies. . . they're all together on one sleek, fun little instrument!!!

My reader is B&N's NOOK, which I like, but still looks like a piker beside my i-phone. And it's sometimes bigger and heavier than I'd like. I can't imagine having to hold and read from something twice as big. So, I hear you Deb about the size factor. I wonder if they're working to make it lighter in version 2.0.

Debra Dixon said...

Betina-- That is such a common rave about the iphone, that I really felt I had to go to the mult-function, touch screen phone. I just don't hear anyone complaining!

I do wonder if they can get the iPad lighter. The screen is big and I think that's the trade off. Screen size versus the weight of the device. It is still smaller to lug than a laptop, but not the "productivity machine" my laptop is.

Michele Hauf said...

I LOVE those covers! Most especially Bewitching, but they all rock uber muchly! Wow. YOu designed those, yes? Such a talent.

Ok, I confess I have an old phone that doesn't do internet, and just sits in my car all the time. I get about 2 minutes usage a month. I lust after the iPad, but after playing with it a while, realized it would just be a toy for me, and that unless I was one of those always-checking-my-schedule people that I wouldn't use it for much more than reading books (that feature is so cool). I do see, though, how it would be awesome for someone who does a lot of traveling. Nice to have all your stuff right there, at hand.

As for us having to learn new technology every few years, it makes me angry that our society has become so disposable. Items are made to fall apart within a few years so we are forced to upgrade. And heaven forbid we don't have the current model and don't look cool anymore. It's only hurting our landfills, and ultimately us. But I won't preach. I do envy you, Deb, for getting to use those toys. They sound like an integral part to your business. And, man, do I lust after the iPhone 4. So pretty. But again, Apple has the most talented marketing dept. in the world. ;-)

krisgils33 said...

the covers look great. I don't have an iPhone. I have a govt issued BB that is terrible, an iPod touch, a Kindle, and a dell laptop. it would be nice to have only one gadget that will do everything I want and need, but I don't see me getting an iPad any time soon.

Leanne said...

I'm way behind you ladies. I don't have a kindle or any kind of electronic reader. I got verizon's droid and turned it back in after a month. Bad sound quality, too big. Got a blackberry and it's working for me now. I'll re-think my phone next year.:) Those covers are AMAAAZZZZING! Beautiful! How great to pick up Jill Barnett. Kudos to you!

Debra Dixon said...

Michele-- Yes, these are my cover designs. Thanks!

Imagine emailing your new NYT Bestselling author and saying, "Don't freak but your cover is going to be a black silhouette with stars. Trust us." LOL! God bless her, she's a class act and was so open to our coming up with something we thought was new and fresh for the books.

Debra Dixon said...

Kris-- That's the way I feel. I have so much stuff. I don't think I'll give up my Kindle. I love it too much. But everything else on one device would be great.

Hubby has a BB and my biggest objection there is that the internet is worthless (for me) on a BB.

Debra Dixon said...


We feel very fortunate for Jill to have trusted us with this backlist. First time in electronic formats.

I've known her for such a long time so we felt we could work well together.

My son began with one and then migrated to a touch phone. He's getting a new Evo which prompted him to tell me it was time to do something! He's a guy who rethinks his phone on a regular basis. He's filling up the landfill Michele reminds us we should worry about.

Debra Dixon said...

Re: Disposable Society

I meant to pick this up, Michele!

Yes, I'm just so tired of the "newer/better" that really isn't newer, better but really just an attempt to part us from out money by making us think we have to have it!

For years people would look at my phone and snicker. I figure that for the price of a few snickers, I've saved $1000 in phone upgrades.

I seriously wouldn't have the Mac/iPad except for really having to have it for the company.

I love some of my old software and HATE the upgrades. I really don't need to cook breakfast with my word processing software, thankyouverymuch. So, leave it the heck ALONE!

I could go on. Most of my anger is over software and operating systems.

Kalayna Price said...

Love the Covers! In particular, the Woonderful/Wild/Wicked covers are absolutely breath taking.

For me, the iPad is a toy. It is an absolutely wonderful tool if all you want to do is consume media-- it is terrible at creating new media. Some people argue with that, and well, they clearly use it for other things than I do.

I've gotten used to the 'soft' keyboard and I can type decently on it (btw, a case helps because you can put the thing at an angle and keep it still) BUT I can't write on it--not at any decent speed, because the quotation marks and apostrophes are on a second screen of the keyboard. That really slows me down. On top of that, editing is all but impossible because none of the software currently available includes either track changes or comments. As those are my main creation needs, the ipad simply cannot fulfill my needs as a tool. The only actually 'useful' thing it does is keep up with my calendar.

That said, it is great for watching movies, playing games, surfing the net, and reading ebooks. So, in my opinion, great toy, terrible tool.

Hope you find yours more useful! If not, I hope you at least find it as fun a toy as I do!

As far as slowing down or liking media options . . . that is hard to say. I'd really like software to be released that fits my needs (see track changes and comments, lol) so that leans toward options, but sometimes I do feel like we create increasingly disposable (and yet expensive) gadgets. It makes me leery of embracing some new tech.

Christie Ridgway said...

As all have said, the covers are lovely for Jill's books.

I played with an iPad the other day. Fun. had Kindles today for $149.99. I hesitated to buy...and now they're all sold out. 'Course now I wish I had one.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Gooooorgeous covers! Jill Barnett--what a coup for Belle. I love her books, and I'm so glad they'll be available digitally.

Frankly, I'm afraid of the new gadgets. I'm distracted enough already!

Debra Dixon said...

Kalayna-- Thank you! With everyone loving the iPad to a ridiculous degree, I was beginning to think I was crazy. It must be a matter of *those* people needing different tools than I do to produce. And even if we use similiar tools, I obviously need features which just don't work well on the iPad.

I do love functional software, but I hate changes without a strong foundation.

And we could talk for a long time about the garbage Word unnecessarily codes into every document. Aiyaiyai!

Debra Dixon said...

Christie!! Girl, you should have popped for that $ 149. You'd save that much easily from not never having to "rebuy that book you gave away because you thought you didn't want it anymore and now you want to read it again."


Wayne says he's saved that much just in books he leaves on airplanes and has to buy again.

Debra Dixon said...

Kathleen-- Distraction worries are a large part of why the iPad and I are not bosom buddies. Can't afford the distraction.

Keri Ford said...

pretty covers!

sometiems I wish technology would slow down just a hair. I mean, just a tiny bit! but when I get some of that new technology, I'm glad to get my hands on it.

Debra Dixon said...

Keri-- a tiny bit of slow down is good for me!

Debra Dixon said...

What I meant to add when I was responding to Keri was that I'll take a tiny bit of slow down. I'm not greedy. I don't want the world to stop, but it could spin a little more slowly. (g)

KylieBrant said...

I'm an Apple slut. Everything they put out I want. I wwaaaaaant an iphone! But I have five people on my plan and switching to ATT would be a major. And I'm trying to figure a reason to get an ipad. Please tell me a reason to get one if I don't like to read electronic books??

Debra Dixon said...


A friend of mine calls the Apple store the "iWant" store.

Reasons to get an iPad...

Internet and email. If you take the internet and email off your computer (to avoid distractions of course) then you would NEED another device set up for your internet research and emai.

bmerleeb said...

Just bought a Kindle and I love my Blackberry. However, just found out I'm elegible for a Droid in February. Hmmm. You know, the Droid has a touch screen and is advertised on TV with a deep, growly voice. I'm a sucker for deep, growly voices, hence my fascination with "Bad Things" the theme from True Bloodl Hey, wait! Did I just get off topic?
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